It certainly put me in a cheerful mood first thing in the morning and reminded me that Kaurismaki’s warm, deadpan style is unique and uniquely pleasing.
Kaurismaki just loves his characters and that affection shines off the screen. Andre Wilms, a longtime collaborator of the director (La Vie Boheme, Juha), is enchanting in the lead role as a shoeshiner on a mission to help an illegal immigrant child from Gabon get to London and not be deported back home.
Superbly staged and composed and boasting a marvellous cast including Kati Outinen (the implausibly named Arletty), Jean-Pierre Darroussin and Laika the dog, Le Havre gets my vote for best film so far.
Alain Cavalier’s Pater, on the other hand, is an intellectual experimental in which Alain Cavalier, the director, and Vincent Lindon, the actor, get together in Paris to discuss a feature in which Cavalier will play the president of France and Lindon his prime minister. Often witty but more often than not somewhat tedious, it is strictly an affair targeted at the French intelligentsia – complete with myriad French-centric references - but with limited appeal for anyone else.